Lateral Thinking is a set of processes that provides a deliberate, systematic way of thinking creatively that results in innovative thinking in a repeatable manner. While critical thinking is primarily concerned with judging the true value of statements and seeking errors. Lateral thinking is more concerned with the "movement value" of statements and ideas. A person uses lateral thinking to move from one known idea to creating new ideas.
DeBono defines four main catagories of Lateral thinking tools:
· Idea-generating tools which break free your current thinking patterns from their usual pathways.
· Focus tools that open your mind to new possibilities in the search for new ideas.
· Harvest tools that help maximize value is received from the idea generating output
· Treatment tools that ground the creativity process by making the wild ideas and make them fit the real world constraints, resources, and support.
Built on the premise that thinking can be developed using training and coaching, and that while creative thinking is a logical process, it does not use the same process that the brain typically uses for passive thinking – that of recognizing and repeating patterns.
De Bono Institute opened in 1996 to serve as a center for training and research into new ways of thinking.